Labrador puppies have the "aah" factor, so no wonder you want to make one part of your family. Your adorable puppy is lively, intelligent and highly trainable. With the right food and schedule, settling him into a feeding routine that keeps him at a healthy weight should be easily achievable.
Buy high-quality puppy food. It's advisable to feed your puppy with the brand he has been weaned with by his breeder as changing your puppy's food overnight is likely to give him digestive problems. According to veterinarian Joseph DeMichael at Bainbridge Labradors, the right type of food is key to your pet's overall health. he states that a dog food suitable for a schnauzer, for example, is not suitable for a great Dane. This is due to different metabolic and nutritional requirements of various breeds. He also says that the Labrador breed is at risk of bone disorders, and that this often happens as the result of poor diet as a puppy. If you adopt your puppy from a shelter, talk to your vet about the best food for him.
Feed your puppy three or four times a day. During the first weeks, follow the number of feed times the breeder has used. The pet food packaging recommends the amount of food to put out in one serving. Put this in the bowl and allow the puppy to feed for 30 minutes then take the food away. At the age of four to six months, you can decrease the number of daily feeds to two, splitting the quantity of food for three meals into two. Some owners like to reduce the number of feeding times to one once the puppy reaches adulthood. Always make sure that there is plenty of clean, fresh water available for your puppy and encourage him to drink. Puppies are easily distracted, and drinking water is not as exciting as playing ball. So, you may have to place the water bowl in front of him to get him to drink.
Allow your puppy time to settle into his feeding routine. He has just left his family of origin and probably feels a little bewildered. He may also feel lonely. You may find that your pet doesn't want to eat as vigorously as you might expect from a puppy, especially a Labrador, which are known to have healthy appetites. This lack of appetite may last for a day or two, according to Dr. DeMichael. If it continues beyond that, you should talk to your vet.
Don't feed your puppy treats. Your Labrador puppy has a knack of winding you around his little paw. You're eating a snack, and there he is beside you. It seems cruel not to let him have a bite, but it is worse to give into him as Labradors have a reputation for putting on weight with some ease. However, Joan Walker in her book "Labrador Retrievers" says that your Labrador puppy will have no desire to overeat if you make sure that he doesn't feel he has to compete with other dogs at feeding time, if the food is dry and doesn't have any beef broth or tasty tidbits added to it.
- Ask your vet for a diet sheet if you want to feed your Lab puppy a homemade diet, rather than make it up yourself.
- Take your Labrador puppy to the vet if you have any concerns about his weight, particularly if you think he may be overweight. Obesity is a serious problem for Labradors that can lead to issues such as high blood pressure and heart problems.
Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.